Former Inspector rejects allegations, queries motive
A former Police Inspector Luatimu Samau has queried the motives behind the allegations, which have now landed him in a Commission of Inquiry ordered by Cabinet.
In strongly rejecting the allegations, he believes they were personally motivated. Luatimu raised the concerns before a Cabinet appointed Commission of Inquiry, which sat last week.
Headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai, the members are Tavui Annie Laumea, Namulau’ulu Sami Leota and Apostle Viliamu Mafo’e.
Samau who is accused of tampering with evidence in the Police case against former N.P.O Director, Mauga Precious Chang. His conduct in the performance of his duties has also come under the microscope.
Luatimu and another suspended Assistant Commissioner, Samoa Mulinu’u, are the focus of the Inquiry.
The lawyers assisting the Commission are Sefo Ainu’ū and Alesana Tumua of the Office of the Attorney General, while Luatimu stood in pro-se.
One of the main witnesses called to testify was Senior Sergeant, Va’alele Tofa, who was the lead Investigator with the Internal Affairs Unit.
Luatimu read out the internal complaint against him by the Professional Standards Unit (P.S.U), which implicates him for “conducting an investigation without authority from the O.I.C [Officer In Command].”
He then queried the Senior Sergeant if there is a law within the Ministry, which requires authority from the O.I.C of Traffic, for another Police Officer to investigate a traffic offense.
“There’s no law,” said Senior Sergeant Va’alele.
She said the Commissioner gave the authority to the Traffic O.I.C to monitor the investigation conducted by the Traffic Officer.
“The charge against you [Samau] is that you’re not part of Traffic, yet you’ve conducted the investigation.”
Samau also queried the second allegation against him claiming he acted dishonestly in the execution of his duty.
“What dishonesty are you referring to?” Luatimu asked.
“You acted dishonesty as an official when you interfered with investigations that was not part of your duties,” responded the Senior Sergeant.
“You were in Afega and the investigation was handled by traffic in town.”
Luatimu proceeded by questioning the third charge of “knowingly making false reports to Professional Standard Unit.
“Is it fair to say the three charges, the wordings are incorrect, even the dates?” Luatimu pointed out to the Senior Sergeant.
Senior Sergeant Va’alele noted the charges are supported by the Summary of Facts report from the investigation she conducted.
But Luatimu put it to Va’alele that anyone under investigation is also entitled to Constitutional rights.
Senior Sergeant Va’alele disagreed. She told Luatimu the case against him is for disciplinary and it falls under administrative issues under the Commissioner’s authority.
“You were informed of the investigation,” Senior Sergeant Va’alele responded.
Luatimu asked how long the Senior Sergeant had worked for the P.S.U. He also asked if she was doing her work with all honesty.
“I cannot answer that,” said Senior Sergeant Va’alele.
Luatimu though went further.
He questioned Senior Sergeant Va’alele if she was married to another Police officer.
“I have a partner, he has nothing to do with this matter and yes he’s a cop,” she responded.
But Luatimu claimed the Senior Sergeant’s motives are personal.
Referring to the “the working relationship between me and your boss…when I appealed his promotion; is that why your team was passionate about coming after me?”
Chairman of the Commission Lesatele intervened. He said the witness cannot answer the line of questioning.
The hearing as been adjourned until 23 June 2017.